Troika demands another pound of Greek flesh

Greek’s debt crisis, brought about by a combination of the Wall Street-greed-created Great Recession and expensive military contracts, most with German companies [many won with hefty bribes], the fragile Greek economy has relied on loans to keep marginally afloat.

The loans, from the neoliberal Troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission, came with draconian demands, including massive public sector layoffs, pension and pay cuts, imposition of more taxes on those least able to afford it, and severe cuts to the national healthcare system, also mandated the sale of public assets, including ports and public transit systems as well as the sale of major shares in national power systems.

And now they want more, including additional impositions on workers and a further selloff of the public energy grid,  if they’re to fund another round of bailout loans.

Meanwhile, unemployment remains at staggering levels.

First up, the latest hitch from To Vima:

The latest talks between the Greek government and the representatives of the institutions on the second bailout review, which concluded at 5:30am on Tuesday, did not result in an agreement between the two sides. As the representatives leave Athens, to continue talks via teleconference, a series of critical issues remain unresolved.

Greek officials commented that the two sides were closed on the fiscal gaps for 2018 and out-of-court settlements for non-performing loans. Technical talks on the gap will continue, as well as on energy and financial issues. As for the primary surplus targets after 2019, they will be discussed at the 5 December Eurogroup in conjunction with measures to be taken for the Greek debt.

Some progress was achieved in the joint collection of taxes and contributions, which will later be refined based on the road map that must be agreed upon between the Ministry of Labor and the General Secretariat of Public Revenue, as well as implementing the OECD’s “toolkit”.

A high-ranking Finance Ministry official estimated that the timetables have not changed and that the goal of reaching a political agreement by the Eurogroup remains. The same official noted that the government intends to reinvest a portion of the one billion euros above the surplus targets towards social benefits.

Some particulars from Kathimerini:

Finance ministers of core European Union countries are expected to meet later this week in Berlin to discuss the possible concessions Brussels could offer to secure the participation of the International Monetary Fund in Greece’s third international bailout, paving the way for debt talks.

Government officials suggest that the IMF, which has yet to decide whether to join Greece’s third bailout, is to blame for the slow process of talks between Greece and its creditors.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos acknowledged that the differences between Greece and its creditors remain too great for an agreement on all prior actions to be reached by the December 5 Eurogroup meeting and said that Athens was aiming for a political agreement by that time.

There is enough time until December 5 for agreements to be reached in talks on labor laws, fiscal issues and the overhaul of the Greek energy sector, Tzanakopoulos said, noting that the government has shown the political will necessary to achieve a breakthrough by the deadline.


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